About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Marshall Fox

I am a bad man. At least in the circles that I run in, I am a bad man: I tend to think that Vicente Fox (despite his shortcomings) is a fairly astute fellow. Some times I even agree with him.

"This is brand U.S.A.: the goodness of America. And the day America no longer stands for this goodness - the day the United States turns out the torch on the Statue of Liberty and replaces it with the searchlight of the guard tower, the day that the visionary America of the Marshall Plan becomes the Fortress America of the Minutement- on that day America will cease to be the good and witll no longer be the great." Revolution of Hope, 352.

What do I mean by a Marshall Plan for Mexico (and I'm sure I depart from VF on some points):

1) Regulated (for the safety of the workers) but free flow of labor between Mexico and the United States. What more could the U.S. do for Mexico than to make sure that immigrants could make AT LEAST minimum wage and have the opportunity to keep their families together in Mexico because they would have the freedom to come and go at will. Happy families. More money remitted. Good times all around.

2) Microfinance banks. Mexicans are some of the best capitalists in the world. Microfinance has worked well in Mexico (consider Pro Mujer or even the controversial Compartamos). A pool of money made available to NGOs for microfinance in Mexico kicks to the curb the notion that a Marshall Plan has to be about foreign control.

3) Infrastructure. Highways for the transportation of goods. The revitalization of rail. Water distribution and water quality projects in general. In terms of environmentally sound infrastructure projects, the possibility of jobs in Mexico is infinite. A little funding from the U.S. without the "hands on" approach of the IMF/World Bank crew would be an incredible boost to commerce in Mexico. I think some of these projects can be carried out in areas not sensitive to the indigenous and not in general promotion of Mexico's already massive D.F.

4) PEMEX restructuring. I still think you can have a prosperous, state-owned PEMEX. That's not possible right now with the company losing over a billion $US a year in inefficiency and corruption. Is there something Europe or the U.S. could offer in terms of helping to restructure PEMEX? Is there a French of Scandinavian model that Mexico could work with? What about a successful Mexican model? Venezuela?

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